California Air Resources Board Standardizes Conductive Charging

July 30, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

The California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board (ARB, Sacramento, CA) has amended its zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) rule by standardizing electric-vehicle charging equipment. The ARB also updated the formula used to calculate each manufacturer's required number of ZEVs to reflect recent industry acquisitions and mergers.

After public testimony from ARB staff, auto manufacturers and others, the ARB approved the staff proposal to select the conductive charging system used by Ford, Honda and several other manufacturers, starting in 2006. As a result of this action, existing inductive chargers used for General Motors, Toyota and Nissan vehicles will continue to be operated and maintained, but probably will not be expanded.

ARB staff recommended the conductive systems because they are reliable, durable, less costly and more amenable to future plans for putting power back on the grid. According to staff estimates, conductive-charging systems are likely to range in costs from $700 to $1,400, whereas inductive-charging units can range from $1,900 to $3,500. Staff also concluded that because most components of the conductive systems are onboard, vehicle manufacturers will find it easier to improve the systems.

The ARB also adopted a new formula for multi-manufacturer companies that determines the number of ZEVs based on the total production of a manufacturer and any subsidiaries of which it has more than 50-percent control. The ARB believes that this will result in more ZEVs being required.